The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation

Why do so many startups fail? The business myth says: A lone entrepreneur – beavering away in a lab or a garage somewhere – through hard work, grit and sheer perseverance develops a great product which then becomes a blockbuster hit. That sounds appealing but the reality is most startups tend to burn through their resources and then disappear because they never get around to seeing what their potential customers think of what they’re developing. They worry about the product first and assume customer demand will be there automatically.To succeed with a startup, you’ve got to manage it differently. Instead of developing a business plan, find ways to accelerate your learning and validate customers demand.

The best way to do this is to build a prototype (with minimal features) and sell it to some early adopters. Then change the product repeatedly – daily if necessary – and keep supplying your customers with the new and improved versions. Listen to their feedback and use those ideas to make a better version and then get more feedback on that. Keep iterating until you get a fully featured product which your customers love. Click here to find out who is Phillip Valdes.

In other words, go through the Build-Measure-Learn loop as often as you can. If you make validated learning the real aim of your startup, you stand a better chance of success. Focus on what customers want, utilize an extremely fast cycle time and take a scientific approach to making decisions. That’s the essence of the Lean Startup approach.

ERIC RIES is an entrepreneur and blog author. He is a cofounder and chief technology officer of IMVU, a virtual community developer. He is also a frequent keynote speaker and is currently entrepreneur-in-residence at Harvard Business School. The Lean Startup methodology has been written about in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review and the Huffington Post. Jumpstart to another Phillip Valdes Article

“The Lean Startup has a kind of inexorable logic, and Ries’ recommendations come as a bracing slap in the face to would-be tech moguls: Test your ideas before you bet the bank on them. Don’t listen to what focus groups say; watch what your customers do. Start with a modest offering and build on the aspects of it that prove valuable. Expect to get it wrong, and stay flexible (and solvent) enough to try again and again until you get it right. It’s a message that rings true to grizzled startup vets who got burned in the Great Bubble and to young filmgoers who left The Social Network with visions of young Zuckerberg dancing in their heads. It resonates with Web entrepreneurs blessed with worldwide reach and open source code. It’s the perfect philosophy for an era of limited resources, when the noun optimism is necessarily preceded by the adjective cautious.” —Wired

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